Lot 131. A gilt copper alloy vajra, Ming dynasty, 15th century. Himalayan Art Resources item no.61682; 18.5 cm (7 1/4 in.) long. Estimate HK$ 35,000 - 45,000 (€ 3,800 - 4,900). Sold for HK$ 275,000 (€ 30,406). © Bonhams 2001-2018
Provenance: Private European Collection, 1970s/80s.
Note: Finely cast with four prongs at each end converging from the jaws of makara on the central axis. The ends emerge from elegant lotuses on either side of the central orb.
After the fall of the Yuan Dynasty, early Ming emperors continued patronage of Tibetan Buddism. The Yongle Emporer (r.1403-1424) invited the Fifth Karmapa Deshin Shekpa (1384-1415) to Beijing. The Ming Imperial Court Record (Zhuo Zhong Zhi) by Liu Ruoyu, mentions the production of Buddhist ritual objects at imperial workshops. This vajra's style, rich gilding, and soft almond-colored alloy are characteristics developed during the Yongle reign. Compare with a closely related Yongle-marked example in the Beijing Palace Museum, illustrated in Cultural Relics of Tibetan Buddhism, Hong Kong, 1992, pl.131-1. Also see another unmarked example in Art Sacré du Tibet: Collection Alain Bordier, Paris, 2013, p.221, no.115.